How do monks deal with their robes in the winter?

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How do monks deal with their robes in the winter?

Postby Ytrog » Thu Sep 06, 2012 9:58 pm

I was wondering about the following: the robes of monks are made for climates like those found in Thailand. How do monks in more moderate climates deal with the winter when snow is falling and such? :thinking:

Is something extra allowed? I don't find anything helpful on this in the Patimokkha. Although they mention out-of-season robes and blankets :reading:
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Re: How do monks deal with their robes in the winter?

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Thu Sep 06, 2012 10:01 pm

I visited a Thai monastery up in Northern Washington, where it can get quite cold. Most just wore thick shirts underneath, along with caps and wool socks. I'm not sure if this is appropriate in Vinaya terms, but it is the common practice I think.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

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Re: How do monks deal with their robes in the winter?

Postby Ytrog » Thu Sep 06, 2012 10:11 pm

LonesomeYogurt wrote:I visited a Thai monastery up in Northern Washington, where it can get quite cold. Most just wore thick shirts underneath, along with caps and wool socks. I'm not sure if this is appropriate in Vinaya terms, but it is the common practice I think.

Ah, thank you. I couldn't imagine them just not having done something like that. :)
After some searching I found a passage in the following page:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/ariyesako/layguide.html wrote:Already during His lifetime, the Buddha made special allowances for different regions (or desa) outside the 'Middle Country' of North India — where He lived and taught. These dealt with both the workings of the Community — for example, a smaller quorum for ordination is allowed in distant parts where there are fewer monks — and practical measures, such as special dispensation for footwear and bathing. (See EV,II,p.173) So there is a precedent for adapting to conditions, but this does not mean the abolishing of any rules

So I think it is appropriate.
Suffering is asking from life what it can never give you.


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Re: How do monks deal with their robes in the winter?

Postby SDC » Thu Sep 06, 2012 11:50 pm

I've seen a monk wearing a hoodie. It was awesome. Can't see it being a Vinaya issue, especially considering the monk that was wearing it, but who knows.
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Re: How do monks deal with their robes in the winter?

Postby James the Giant » Thu Sep 06, 2012 11:58 pm

At cold-weather monasteries I know about, they use "The Great Standards"
They wear lots of thermals, and thicker robes, and boots, and finally enormous saffron-coloured down jackets when they are outside.
Meanwhile, at Dhammapala Kloster in Switzerland, Ajahn Thiradhammo says they didn't want to wear any non-monk clothing, so they experimented with different but still allowable materials for their traditional robes... thick fleecy synthetics, merino wool, etc, but they decided they were too bulky to be practical.

However I understand that Dhammayut monks are quite strict, and even in the west they do not allow such things, they stay very basic and thus have a lot of trouble living in cold climates.

The Great Standards
The Lord Buddha also left us a set of principles that can still be used as a standard to judge new circumstances. These are known as 'The Great Standards.' Properly used they should protect against a wholesale dilution of the Rule.

This is how the Great Standards are formulated:

"Bhikkhus, whatever I have not objected to, saying, 'This is not allowable,' if it fits in with what is not allowable, if it goes against what is allowable, that is not allowable for you.

"Whatever I have not objected to, saying, 'This is not allowable,' if it fits in with what is allowable, if it goes against what is not allowable, that is allowable for you.

"And whatever I have not permitted, saying, 'This is allowable,' if it fits in with what is not allowable, if it goes against what is allowable, that is not allowable for you.

"And whatever I have not permitted, saying, 'This is allowable,' if it fits in with what is allowable, if it goes against what is not allowable, that is allowable for you." (BMC p.27; see also EV, II, p170)

◊ Treated with care, these Great Standards should enable bhikkhus to live according to the Vinaya Rule in, for example, isolated communities in non-Buddhist countries with non-tropical climates. They form a touchstone for modern conditions and substances.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... tml#modern
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Re: How do monks deal with their robes in the winter?

Postby Hanzze » Fri Sep 07, 2012 7:28 am

Ytrog wrote:I was wondering about the following: the robes of monks are made for climates like those found in Thailand. How do monks in more moderate climates deal with the winter when snow is falling and such? :thinking:

Is something extra allowed? I don't find anything helpful on this in the Patimokkha. Although they mention out-of-season robes and blankets :reading:

Maybe the question is wrong directed. It might be maybe better to ask: "(How better why) does one in robes deal with winter?"
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_
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Re: How do monks deal with their robes in the winter?

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Sep 07, 2012 9:25 pm

They are not limited to three robes alone, the three robes are the minimum they need.

they are allowed extra material which is determined for specific things and it is usual to see monks in the UK with jumpers or a karate type jacket on.

Edit - Bhikkhus are not to wear lay clothes so it would depend on what is considered lay clothes, and if a compromise could be met to cater for the need for extra warmth/dryness.
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Re: How do monks deal with their robes in the winter?

Postby appicchato » Sat Sep 08, 2012 1:17 am

Robes (in Thailand, anyway) can be obtained that are made with heavier/thicker material...
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Re: How do monks deal with their robes in the winter?

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Sat Sep 08, 2012 1:59 am

Cittasanto wrote:They are not limited to three robes alone, the three robes are the minimum they need.

Isn't the possession of two sets of robes nissaggiya pacittiya?
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
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Re: How do monks deal with their robes in the winter?

Postby gavesako » Sat Sep 08, 2012 7:15 am

Here is a good overview of how the Buddhist monks' and nuns' robes developed historically and as Buddhism spread to colder climates:
http://buddhism.about.com/od/thefirstbu ... /robes.htm
http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/bud ... be_txt.htm
http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/bud ... e_pics.htm

Wearing only the three robes and nothing else is a special ascetic (dhutanga) practice. More robes can be determined as "accessory cloth" which is what most Theravada monks now do.

In colder climates, you really need to have some cloth close to your skin to keep the warmth inside, so woolly jumpers and sweaters and fleece jackets and warm underwear have been used by monks.

Here you can see some photos of Thai monks in Norway:
http://watthainorway.no/Artikler/bilder/
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Re: How do monks deal with their robes in the winter?

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Sep 08, 2012 7:28 am

LonesomeYogurt wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:They are not limited to three robes alone, the three robes are the minimum they need.

Isn't the possession of two sets of robes nissaggiya pacittiya?

The three robes being determined as the uttarasanga, antaravasaka and sanghati and other cloth requisites are not these, if the become determined as one of these they need relinquished before the 10th day (if memory serves) but they are not limited to only the three robes.

have a look for extra cloth requisites in the BMC
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Re: How do monks deal with their robes in the winter?

Postby Ytrog » Mon Sep 10, 2012 9:34 pm

Thank you all for the information.

Bhante, how do you deal with it yourself? You aren't exactly living in the hottest climate :anjali:
Suffering is asking from life what it can never give you.


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Re: How do monks deal with their robes in the winter?

Postby gavesako » Wed Sep 12, 2012 7:44 am

It is not a problem wearing lots of extra clothing on one's body, but it does not feel so comfortable especially for meditation. I heard that in Canada, they build the kutis so large that one can do walking meditation inside (being warmed by the wood fire). That sounds like a good idea for cold climates.
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Re: How do monks deal with their robes in the winter?

Postby Tom » Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:13 am

Hope I'm not too off-topic, but supposedly studies have been performed on Tibetan monks doing tummo that have supposedly scientifically shown that they can raise their body temperatures. Is there a similar practice found in the Theravada community?
Last edited by Tom on Mon Aug 12, 2013 7:32 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: How do monks deal with their robes in the winter?

Postby gavesako » Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:23 am

In SE Asian Theravadan countries, it would be more useful to lower one's body temperature in the heat of the day. And I heard of some monks using the wind element kasina practice (focusing on the wind sensations at the nostrils) in order to produce a cool feeling in their body.
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Re: How do monks deal with their robes in the winter?

Postby Hanzze » Thu Sep 13, 2012 1:47 am

Wind for heat?

Of cause, generally Soth Asian people think that the temperature is different when there is wind (one would not find easy a place where no ventilator is used) and love the refuge in Vedana.
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_
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Re: How do monks deal with their robes in the winter?

Postby Hanzze » Thu Sep 13, 2012 9:16 am

gavesako wrote:
In colder climates, you really need to have some cloth close to your skin to keep the warmth inside, so woolly jumpers and sweaters and fleece jackets and warm underwear have been used by monks.


in the commentaries of Bhikkhu Ñánadassana's translation of the Pattimokkha it is written:

b) Es ist ein Dukkatavergehen, wenn man solche Kleidung, Wäsche usw. trägt, die Laien tragen (gihi- nivattha-/ párutaη) [CV. 137] Das schließt heutzutage Pullover, Sweater, Jacken, Hosen, Unterhosen, Socken, Kappen, Mützen, Kapuzen usw., ein.
Diese Art von Kleidung ist nicht geeignet für Samanas, nicht vom Buddha gelobt, und sogar kranke Bettelmönche sind nicht frei von Vergehen.
Für kaltes Wetter und für den Winter wurde von ihm das Doppelgewand erlaubt [s. MV. 288f] oder auch Wolldecken (kambala) [MV. 281], wollene usw. Tücher und wenn man die K-Privilegien erhalten hat [s. Kap. 8], dann auch zahllose Gewänder/ Stoffe in die man sich einwickeln kann. Alle diese Stoffe sollen die Form eines Tuches oder Lakens haben.

b) It is a Dukkataoffence if one wears clothes which are wearen by layman (gihi- nivattha-/ párutaη) [CV. 137]. That includes pullower, sweater, jackets, tousers, undertrousers, socks, caps, bonnet, hood,...
This kind of clothes are not adequate for Samanas, not praised by the Buddha, and even for sick begging monks not free from offence.
For cold weather and for the winter the twin-cloth have been allowed [s. MV. 288f] but also woolen blanket (kambala) [MV. 281], woolen rag ... and if one has resived the K-privilegs [s. Kap. 8] than also countless clothes/fabrics which are useable to wrap oneself in it. All this fabrics should have the form of a rag or sheet.

free translation


therefore the request "(How better why) does one in robes deal with winter?" before
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_
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Re: How do monks deal with their robes in the winter?

Postby reflection » Thu Sep 13, 2012 11:41 am

Image ;)
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Re: How do monks deal with their robes in the winter?

Postby gavesako » Thu Sep 13, 2012 12:44 pm

Hanzze wrote:
gavesako wrote:
In colder climates, you really need to have some cloth close to your skin to keep the warmth inside, so woolly jumpers and sweaters and fleece jackets and warm underwear have been used by monks.


in the commentaries of Bhikkhu Ñánadassana's translation of the Pattimokkha it is written:

b) Es ist ein Dukkatavergehen, wenn man solche Kleidung, Wäsche usw. trägt, die Laien tragen (gihi- nivattha-/ párutaη) [CV. 137] Das schließt heutzutage Pullover, Sweater, Jacken, Hosen, Unterhosen, Socken, Kappen, Mützen, Kapuzen usw., ein.
Diese Art von Kleidung ist nicht geeignet für Samanas, nicht vom Buddha gelobt, und sogar kranke Bettelmönche sind nicht frei von Vergehen.
Für kaltes Wetter und für den Winter wurde von ihm das Doppelgewand erlaubt [s. MV. 288f] oder auch Wolldecken (kambala) [MV. 281], wollene usw. Tücher und wenn man die K-Privilegien erhalten hat [s. Kap. 8], dann auch zahllose Gewänder/ Stoffe in die man sich einwickeln kann. Alle diese Stoffe sollen die Form eines Tuches oder Lakens haben.

b) It is a Dukkataoffence if one wears clothes which are wearen by layman (gihi- nivattha-/ párutaη) [CV. 137]. That includes pullower, sweater, jackets, tousers, undertrousers, socks, caps, bonnet, hood,...
This kind of clothes are not adequate for Samanas, not praised by the Buddha, and even for sick begging monks not free from offence.
For cold weather and for the winter the twin-cloth have been allowed [s. MV. 288f] but also woolen blanket (kambala) [MV. 281], woolen rag ... and if one has resived the K-privilegs [s. Kap. 8] than also countless clothes/fabrics which are useable to wrap oneself in it. All this fabrics should have the form of a rag or sheet.

free translation


therefore the request "(How better why) does one in robes deal with winter?" before



I have seen Thai Dhammayut monks who want to be "strict" wearing funny poncho-like blankets over their shoulders in the winter, but that made them look very funny and not like monks actually. Also it is totally impractical and one can barely move in such clothing, which is why these Asian monks hardly ever leave their central-heated housing in cold climate countries and only wait for the laypeople to bring them food. On the other hand, if one really wants to adapt skilfully to the radically different climate in order to make Buddhism livable there, one can choose a different colour of one's jumpers and sweaters and jackets which are not worn by laymen. Also one can still wear the robe on top as shown on the picture from Canada above. I think this is a much better option and in line with the mahapadesa principles of the Buddha.
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Re: How do monks deal with their robes in the winter?

Postby Hanzze » Thu Sep 13, 2012 1:06 pm

What if simply just make it liveable if the conditios are liveable? Cold weather has much impact on dependency and the tendence to need to fall apart of the rules.
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_
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